One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. Later in 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. There, the family boarded a train for the trip to California, where Frank's older brother Benjamin was living.
On their journey, they subsisted on bread and bananas, as their lack of English made it impossible for them to ask for any other kind of foodstuffs. On June 3, the Capra family arrived at the Southern Pacific station in Los Angeles, at the time, a small city of approximately 102,000 people. The family stayed with Capra's older brother Benjamin. Capra graduated from high school on January 27, 1915, and in September of that year, he entered the Throop College of Technology.
While living at his mother's house, Capra took on a wide variety of manual laboring jobs, including errand boy and ditch digger, even working as an orange tree pruner at 20 cents a day. He continued to be employed as an extra at movie studios and as a prop buyer at an independent studio at Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street, which later became the home of Columbia Pictures, where Capra would make his reputation as the most successful movie director of the 1930s.
In 1985, at age 88, Capra suffered one of a series of strokes. Capra died in La Quinta, California, of a heart attack in his sleep in 1991 at the age of 94. He was interred in the Coachella Valley Public Cemetery in Coachella, California.